A Metropolitan Police officer who pocketed £200 thinking it was lost property handed to him by a member of the public has wept in court as he admitted theft.

Robin Ruston, from Ongar, was given the cash, a bag and a phone charger by an undercover officer to "test his integrity" on Wednesday, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

But the 36-year-old admitted keeping the money for himself and wiped away tears as the court heard he had "ruined his good name, let down his colleagues, friends, partner and the public".

The policeman of 15 years' experience was handed a 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months on Thursday.

Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram said: "The degree of breach of trust in a case like this could not be higher.

"The circumstances of this case are an undercover police officer gave you lost property and he did so to test your integrity. And they don't do it randomly.

"They were testing your integrity and you failed because you kept the money for yourself.

"If we can't trust our police officers who can we trust?"

Defending, Tom Doble said Ruston declared bankruptcy after getting divorced in 2015, and is in "acute financial difficulty" with minus £43 in his bank account.

Mr Doble said: "He took the money because he had a holiday booked with his children at the end of the week.

"He didn't want to be the dad who didn't have any money again for his children."

Ruston pays child support for three children from his failed marriage and also provides for a child he has fathered with a new partner as well as her four children, Mr Doble added.

He told the court: "It was an extremely serious lapse of judgment.

"He is in acute financial difficulty ... he is struggling desperately and failing to keep his head above water.

"He regrets it enormously, ever since he has been saying sorry.

"He's ruined his good name, let down his colleagues, friends, partner and the public. The consequences are huge."

Ruston was also ordered to pay £207 to the court in costs and a victim surcharge after admitting a single count of theft.

Scotland Yard has been contacted for comment.